Household Reviews: Gas Vs. Electric Stoves

This article discusses the differences between gas and electric stoves.

Whether in the form of a freestanding range, cooktop or built-in range, everyone needs a stove. Gas and electric stoves are widely available. Which is best? Is there much difference between the two?

Technology has finally brought gas and electric stoves on par with each other. In fact, many commercial-grade and professional ranges cook with gas. Cooking with gas is more precise. The cook can control the exact amount of heat underneath a pot, and this is probably gas's main advantage over electricity. In most other respects, choosing gas or electric will depend largely on a cook's needs and preferences.

An electric range or cooktop is usually cheaper than a gas stove. The difference in price can be anywhere from $75-$200, depending on the model, manufacturer and features. A homeowner will need a 240-volt power supply for an electric range, and most homes have these available already. The homeowner may need to have a gas line installed if he doesn't have gas service already, and this costs more than installing a 240-volt outlet.

Gas stoves generally have sealed burners which reduce the mess on a cooktop if something spills. Electric stoves with coil burners generally have removable drip pans to take care of the problem, but they can get dull and dirty with frequent use. Solid-top electric ranges have the radiant heat elements underneath a glass or ceramic top. The spills have nowhere to drip to with such a range, so the top is easily cleaned. A homeowner will pay extra for the solid cooktop option, though.

Both gas and electric stoves have self-cleaning options, which are a boon to anyone who has cleaning duties. Gas stoves also may have an electronic ignition option, which eliminates the need to actually physically light the burner with a match. The cook just presses a switch and the burner ignites.

A homeowner needs to keep in mind that gas stoves do come with the gas hazard. They do have pilot lights and the owners will need to be extremely careful about having any kind of flammable liquids in the home. Any home equipped with a gas stove should have a carbon monoxide detector, just in case something happens. The homeowner should also know how to extinguish the pilot light when away from the home, or in an emergency.

Gas stoves are practical for those who live in areas where the primary source of power is propane or natural gas. They are more likely to have a line already installed in their home for a gas stove, and it is then a simple matter to hook the stove up to the line.

Some homeowners (like this writer) are afraid of gas and much prefer electricity. They do not like the idea of having a pilot light burning in the home all the time, and having a gas line in use nearby. They also do not like the idea of having to light a burner, even with an electronic ignition system. These homeowners will want to get an electric stove, regardless.

For those who do not fear gas, and for whom a gas stove is not more convenient, personal preference and budget will determine which kind of stove they purchase. Many cooks prefer gas because of its heating precision, although many electric stoves offer fairly precise heating, as well. However, a cook can roast peppers over a gas burner, toast marshmallows for desserts, and do other things that an electric stove does not allow.

As with most home appliances, comparison shopping and a knowledge of available features are a consumer's best friends when it comes to purchasing a stove. Both gas and electric stoves will provide many years of service to a homeowner. Choosing one over the other simply depends on his or her preference and which suits his lifestyle best.

© High Speed Ventures 2011